"You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!" James 5:8-9
Of all the virtues that are in short supply these days, patience must be near the top of the list. Who among us couldn't stand to be a little more patient? I see you raising your hand! Well, at least you are not like this guy:
A man in Los Angeles, California was arrested for negligent discharge of a weapon after shooting his toilet bowl five times with a 38 caliber handgun. He claims that he just got upset. He couldn’t take it any longer. His daughter had flushed a hairbrush earlier in the day and clogged the pipes. So he shot the offending toilet. I have no word on the toilet’s condition, but the man’s patience was long gone.
To protect your toilet or your cat or whatever else becomes the target of your impatience, I am sharing some insights from James 5 to help you develop in this vital area.
In the last post I pointed out how James encouraged you to Look Up And Be Courageous.
Today, he counsels you to Look In And Become Clean.
This insight is based on verses 8-9. Take a look with me.
Just be honest with yourself. Impatience and all the negative thoughts, attitudes and actions that come with it do not issue from a heart that is pure. So, your impatience is evidence that there needs to be some heart cleansing done. The guy in California didn't blast his toilet because he had an attack of maturity.
So, the intensely practical James deals with some solutions for the impatience problem. You must deal with it from the insight out.
V. 8 - "be patient" - the cure for impatience is to consciously and intentionally choose to act patient. Don't pick up the gun to shoot your toilet. Instead, pick up the plunger or pick up the phone to call a plumber. Those are the actions of a mature person concerned about practicing patience. Patience, like everything else in life, is mastered one decision at a time by the grace of God.
Think about the options. You can wait (impatiently) until you somehow manage to FEEL patient or you can choose to DO something patient. And, if you prove to yourself that you can do it once, then you know you can do it again!
V. 8 - "stand firm" - do you know what one of the hardest things is for impatient people to do? To stand still! James says stand firm! How do you stand firm? Find something firm and then stand there! What is more firm than your faith in God and His Word. In the context of this verse Paul is saying, "stand on the firm promise of Christ's return!" Know that He is in control. Know that your struggles and your suffering are not forever.
V. 9 - "Don't grumble against each other" - one of the things impatient people do is grumble. If you want to master impatience get a grip on your grumbling. Ever notice how impatient people are not only impatient with themselves they are impatient with others, too? James says to deal with that! You can stop yourself from grumbling and when you do you have dealt a blow against impatience.
How about this? While you are standing firm on the precious promises of God, why not rejoice that your Christian brothers also have the same promises!
In his counsel for dealing with impatience, James says, "Look inside and cleanse yourself from the causes of impatience." Memorize the promises of God. Believe in those promises. Cling to them! And when you know them and when you REALLY believe them it will help you with impatience because it is as though have already happened! When you wait ON God you wait WITH God!
Practice patience patiently while God removes the impatience through the power of His presence and His promises!